Three Little Pigs is a fairy tale featuring talking animals. Published versions of the story date back to the late 18th century, but the story is thought to be much older. The phrases used in the story, and the various morals which can be drawn from it, have become enshrined in western culture.
The first little pig builds a house of straw, but a wolf blows it down and eats the pig. The encounter between wolf and pig features ringing proverbial phrases:
The second pig builds a house of sticks, has the same conversation with the wolf, who huffs and puffs the house down and swallows the second pig.
The third pig builds a house of bricks. The wolf cannot huff and puff hard enough to blow the house down. He attempts to trick the third little pig out of his house, but the pig outsmarts him at every turn. Finally, the wolf threatens to come down the chimney, whereupon the third little pig boils a pot of water into which the wolf plunges. In some versions, the pig cooks the wolf into a stew and eats him.
In recent years, the story has been retold in a softer tone. In these retellings, no one is eaten; the two less prudent pigs escape to their brother's house, while the wolf escapes rather than being killed and eaten.
The tale of the Three Little Pigs and the Big Bad Wolf was included in Nursery Rhymes and Nursery Tales by James Orchard Halliwell-Phillipps, first published around 1843. It seems to have become popular during the late 19th century. Variations of the tale appeared in Uncle Remus: His Songs and Sayings in 1881. The story also made an appearance in Nights with Uncle Remus in 1883, both by Joel Chandler Harris, in which the pigs were replaced by Brer Rabbit. Andrew Lang included it in "The Green Fairy Book", published in 1892, but did not cite his source. The story in its arguably best-known form appeared in English Fairy Tales by Joseph Jacobs, first published in 1890 and crediting Halliwell as his source.
A more recent version titled The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig switches the character roles of the traditional story.
David Wiesner's The Three Pigs uses the characters from the traditional story, but has the pigs leave the pages of the story for an exploration of the world beyond the Fourth Wall. The book won the 2002 Caldecott Medal
In March 2007, the story was modified in some British schools to "three little puppies" to avoid offending Muslim families, a move described by Ibrahim Mogra from the Muslim Council of Britain as "bizarre". However the name has changed back to the Three Little Pigs.
In January 2008 a story based on the Three Little Pigs fairy tale, 'The Three Little Cowboy Builders' was turned down by a British government agency's awards panel citing that the subject matter could offend Muslims and builders, "Is it true that all builders are cowboys, builders get their work blown down, and builders are like pigs?". The digital book, which was re-telling the classic story, was rejected by judges who warned that "the use of pigs raises cultural issues".
In New York City the Manhattan Children's Theatre presented a Rockabilly musical adaptation with tunes and lyrics by Kyle and Sarah Norris, starring Katie Knipp, Stephen McFarland, Mike Mitchell, Jr., Julie Mozdy, Molly Roberson, and Chris Will. The production ran through the winter of 2006-2007
In Japan, the puppet show that draws the subsequent story of Three Little Pigs, Bū-Fū-Ū , was aired in 1960 to 1967. The show named the Three Little Pigs Bū, Fū and Ū.
There was also a Green Jelly metal music video rendition of the story, which broke the Top 20 in 1993.
In Heroes of Might and Magic IV there is a scenario where there are three heroes known as the three pigs.
The Three Little Pigs have made many appearances in WB Looney Tunes cartoons, including an adaptation of the original tale was done to the music of Brahms' Hungarian Dances nos. 5, 6 and 7. The Three Pigs were cast as antagonists in the Bugs Bunny cartoon The Wind Blown Hare (1949).
The Three Little Pigs are Shrek's friends in the Shrek movies.
In a gruesome version of the story, Tales from the Crypt had an episode, The Third Pig, in which the third pig is framed for the horrific murders of his brothers.
Studio 100 produced a musical in 2003 named The Three Piglets (De Drie Biggetjes). K3 performed the part of the three little pigs. In the musical the daughters of the little pig who built the stone house fall in love with the three sons of the big bad wolf, much to the dismay of the wolf.